Book Review: Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey

Memorial Drive: A Daughter's MemoirMemorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Trethewey’s memoir recounts her life with her mother and her odyssey to understand her mother’s murder at the hands of her stepfather. It is an exploration of memory and of the narratives we tell about our lives to make some sense of them even in the face of enormous tragedy. We are confronted with her mother’s death from the first page, yet we also see Trethewey’s own experience growing up in Mississippi in the sixties with both the safe haven of family and the constant threat of racist violence, and then her experience of her mother’s divorce and remarriage in Atlanta, and her mother’s attempts to free herself from the abusive relationship. Trethewey struggles with her own survivor’s guilt and with her attempts to retrieve the past that in the immediate aftermath of the murder, she had done her best to jettison and forget. It is a haunting story, masterfully told: at the same time highly personal and universal. It is a story that will remain with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

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Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

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